# What is the difference between distance and displacement?

Last updated on June 2nd, 2023 at 01:03 pm

**Distance is the length actually traveled on a route while Displacement is the shortest distance (straight line distance) between the initial point and final point of the traveled path.** *Distance is a scalar quantity and it is required to calculate speed. On the other hand, displacement is a vector quantity that has both magnitude and direction. Displacement is used to calculate the velocity of an object in motion.*

**Difference between distance and displacement with an example**

Now we will explain the difference between distance and displacement with an example.

So if anybody runs a *completely circular route* once then the **Distance** traveled is equal to the circumference of the circle i.e.** 2.π. R **where R is the radius of the circle (and π is 22/7).

Say, for the circular track in Figure 1 above, when someone runs from A to B and then B to A (following the given circular track) distance traveled can be obtained by the above formula, distance = **2.π. R**

At the same time the Displacement = 0 because the final point(A) is the same as the initial point(A).

Similarly, if the runner runs half of the circular track (A to B only) then the Distance traveled is half of the circumference of the circle = **π.R**

And the Displacement, in this case, is AB which is equal to 2R or the Diameter of the circle.

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